Blog Update + What’s to Come

Hi, everyone. I did not intend to take such a long break, but despite the optimism from the new year, I really haven’t had the time or dedication to keep up with this blog. Before I make my big announcement, I thought I’d explain where I am right now and why I kind of gave up on this blog.

This semester I am taking two in-person grad classes. They both require more readings than I think I’ve ever been asked to do in the past three semesters I’ve been at UT Dallas. It’s hard to complain, because I love these classes. The readings are so amazing and the discussions in class are so much fun. Additionally, I am working on my Capstone, which I describe as a kind of independent study. I’ve been using any extra time I have on the weekends to do research related to a survey I’m designing and I’m finally in the stages where I’m beginning to work on my IRB application (ethically required for an research done at an institution such as a university). I hope this thing will ultimately be published, so that motivation has driven me through all the work I’ve done thus far.

I’m also an official teaching assistant this semester which means I’m attending three classes additional twice a week, keeping track of attendance, and now, beginning to grade assignments. I love grading and providing feedback, but my life would be so much easier if I didn’t have to attend the first of these three classes. I do not actually participate in any of the classes, beyond circulating during small group work. But I have been informed I will each one class period for each class this semester and I have recently received the tentative dates and readings! This is exciting but also terrifying.

Since I’ve barely been able to start reading for myself and will soon have job searching to think about, I’ve lost the motivation not just to write but also to blog here the way I have been. I feel like what I’m in need of is an absolutely new space where I can refocus my blogging efforts.

That’s why I’ve started my new blogging home on WordPress.com: Betwined Reads.

There’s just no reason that I need my own self-hosted blog anymore and I have really missed the community built-in to having a blog that’s so much easier for people to find randomly, as opposed to through social media networking efforts. I figure I will eventually  upgrade the blog so I can have more control over customization. But for right now I’ve been focusing on the content of the blog.

There’s nothing up yet, but I thought I’d share it here and now since it’s been so long since I’ve been online or explained what’s been in works and I always feel bad when I just disappear like that. I’m working on pages right now, including a list of the features that will guide the types of posts I make, so you can check that out here if you want to know what you can expect if you intend to follow me. I can’t make any promises right now in terms of when content will begin to show up on the blog, but it won’t be until I’ve finished working out the technical issues, like the permanent pages, sidebar, and simple things like blog logo.

As for what will happen with Books & Pixels, I have no idea yet! I only own this space for about one more year, so I don’t see a point to using it for stuff that I want to be more lasting.

Since my weekend is about to begin, I should have time to work on the new blog. When it’s completely ready, I will probably make one last post on the matter and switch the Bloglovin’ following over to the new blog.

Hope you’re doing well and aren’t too annoyed with me! ^_^

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In which I had no time to write this past week.

Hi friends.

I had the GRE on Saturday morning, which was a stressful nightmare that I had to cram for and after which I crashed. Then Sunday and Monday were almost entirely spent on readings for all my classes. I essentially have four between Tuesday and Wednesday alone. The time I wasn’t reading or taking notes was spent sleeping, eating, and watching mind-numbing programming on Netflix (which is to say Gossip Girl, and the show is only really good while the main cast is still in high school so I really am embarrassed to say I’m at the end of season 4 and only now just decided to call it quits).

So instead of the regularly scheduled broadcast of What I’m Writing Wednesdays, I’m going to do a cheeky little update, because despite the horror that has been the past two weeks I’m still dedicated to this blog and making stuff.

I’m currently reading The Invasion of the Tearling. It’s been going really slowly because most nights I’m either mentally exhausted or my eyes are crossing from how much reading I’ve already done for school. But I’m still really enjoying this reread. I love the world and the characters. It’s a wonderfully cosy read I’m hoping to finish up before the end of the January, mostly because I want to get to the final book in the series which came out last November.

I haven’t written anything either. I’ve not made much progress since last week when I wrote my really excited post about making discoveries after sketching my protagonist’s home. I want to revisit my story this weekend and make more concrete plans for how I’m going to make my March writing goal. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk to my writing buddy soon! I miss her and she gets me excited about writing.

So it’s pretty late and I’m ready to go to sleep. All day I was preparing for my role as discussion leader in my class which included preparing a handout on our four readings and devising discussion questions. I was actually way over prepared, which I always find really annoying instead of handy. I had a whole plan of the way I wanted it to go and my instructor is actually the person I blame for throwing a wrench in my plans, although rationally I appreciate that she saved me from doing more talking. I’m just glad I shouldn’t need to do any other “class presentation”-like thing this semester. They take more time than just doing the readings and taking notes!

I was going to keep it a surprise, but I have some things in the works for next week! I don’t want to say much more other than you can expect my next post probably next Tuesday on the last day of January.

I hope you’re doing well and forgive me for not doing a What I’m Writing Wednesday this week. In the comments let me know how your writing is going and ask me if there’s anything you want some quick help or advice on. I’m all ears and would love to be of some help.

Thank you for reading!
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My Spring 2017 Semester Courses.

After some weeks of uncertainty I discovered that my last minute Capstone proposal had been approved and I had been selected for my specialized instruction by the advisor I wanted! So now that my schedule is now pretty much set I thought I’d do another post like last semester talking about the classes I’ll be taking just in case anyone is interested as prospective student in the Emerging Media & Communication (EMAC) M.A. program at the University of Texas at Dallas.

This will most likely be my final semester at UT Dallas, and after strenuous two years I’m excited to be completing my program at this school. I had some amazing instructors and life-changing classroom experiences that have opened my mind to the world we are living in and the possibilities I have for the future. I hope to continue my studies with a PhD in Fall 2018, but first I’m hoping to find a job for a year that will help me eliminate the debt I acquired last year.

Without any further ado, here’s my blurb of the nine credits I will be taking as a full-time Master’s student.

Social Technologies and Games (3 cr.)

I hadn’t thought I’d take another ATEC course, but this one stood out to me as one that could be of great value. As described in the syllabus this course will “investigate the material and immaterial technologies, rules, and processes that shape social relations in contemporary digital culture. Students will examine the opportunities and limitations for understanding social dynamics that analyzing games affords—both as objects of study and as a lens for studying social relations.” I took a digital culture class for my program last spring that focused on journalism, which was unfortunate for me because I do not find journalism as a field all that appealing. I think this course might offer a lot more relevance for things in digital culture that I’m much more interested in.

Emerging Media & Media Psychology (3 cr.)

I learned so much from the instructor of this course in the Social Science Perspectives of EMAC last semester that I knew this course would be of tremendous value, particularly as I seek to continue my graduate studies at a rigorous and prestigious university in the future. From what I’ve heard, this class will be a lot more like what I was hoping last semester’s would be, so it should focus on media effect theories that can be great objects of focus in media studies research, which is something I’m now really interested in.

Graduate Capstone (3 cr.)

Before you graduate from the EMAC M.A. program you must first complete a Capstone project which applies what you learned from the program into a creative project or research study. I decided to propose an experiment that I designed for my aforementioned Social Science Perspectives of EMAC course last semester. It was a quick one-off thing that I designed right before class, but I received some really good feedback on it that made me excited to actually pursue it. I will no doubt talk about the final project in more depth in the future on this blog, but for right now I’ll just say that right now it involves online book clubs and YouTube!

End Note

Like last semester I will also be a teaching assistant, however, I will likely have more responsibilities this semester in terms of what I do for the class as my advisor last semester was really chill with me. I’m a little scared that I’ve not been prepared for this, but I have no doubt I’ll be able to handle it and relish the challenge. This should be a really great semester and I look forward to seeing how this all turns out!

Thank you for reading!
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January 2017 Plans.

Hi! I’m back again with another post because I can’t sleep (I’ve got my first proper cold in ages) and I’m trying to be productive. I have only about 6–7 days left in Houston before I need to get back to Dallas and I want to set my goals before I get back so I can hit the ground running.

I start classes for Spring 2017 next Tuesday. My schedule is not 100% set in stone yet (for reasons I’ll probably explain once it is), but I do know two classes I will for sure being taking:

Social Technology and Games (3 cr.). I hadn’t thought I’d take another ATEC class, but I discovered this one at the last minute. It had a syllabus I could look at and it seems like it will have some great readings I’ll find useful in the future. I’m not interested in working in the gaming industry, but I really find some aspects of game design really important and applicable to other fields and areas of life so I’m always excited for a class that will expand my mind and interests.

Emerging Media and Media Psychology (3 cr.). I think this class will be really interesting and useful for my PhD. It is will a professor I had last semester who I really respect and admire. I know she organizes really good curriculums so I’m excited to have another class with her. I also think I’ll know a lot of people in this class, so that always makes it nicer.

I also will be taking the GRE on January 21st so I need to prepare for that examination because I do not want to have to take it again. There are three sections, so I figure I’ll prepare for one section per week, starting with the most difficult, which are for me the timed writing prompt and math.

Despite all these school trappings, I’m also excited for some non-school related projects.

TBR

As I stated in my latest post New Year’s Resolutions | 2017, I want to read on average three books per month. For this month, I’m prioritizing the Starbound trilogy, mostly because I’ve been making my way very slowly through my reread of the first book. I’ve found reading very difficult lately during the holidays. I don’t know why, but I’ve struggled to prioritize alone time; and I know this is why I’ve not been reading.

These books are not super long or boring, so I am actually hoping to marathon them before I go back to Dallas. So I may start off this month with an impressive wrap up. I also think I will have two books that I need to read this month for one class according to the syllabus. I also want to catch up on some books I wanted to finish last year.

Additionally, each month I think I want to attempt to read a random book that I select blindly at my school library so that I start to read more diversely and not get so compulsive about a TBR, which I’ve found sometimes (but not always) happens.

Creative Plans

Before I return to Dallas, I want to break out my Wacom tablet and start doing some sketching. I think I already know what my subjects will be for this month, but don’t hold me to them! I may change my mind by the end of the month and show you something completely different.

Self-portraiture. I think there is some value to the self-examination that a self-portrait entails, and I’m strangely excited to draw myself as I see myself. I’ve only ever done seriously this once and it’s weirdly one of my favorite things I’ve ever drawn. I don’t know if I still have it. I messed it up by trying to paint the background this green I really liked. But the practicality of this project is that I could use it for my blog header to personalize it more.

Blog header art. Speaking of my blog header, I want to do something original. The current blog header I’m using was created combining two separate watercolor images I found via Tumblr and it bothers me that I’ve appropriated them without permission, but they were always just meant to be a placeholder anyway. (If I’m successful and you like what you see at the end of the month, I’d be willing to take free commissions if you’re in the market for something similar. This is an exclusive offer I’ll be offering only to my most loyal of blog followers. ^_^)

End Note

Thanks if you read this entire post and for sticking with me as I get my blogging groove back. I always worry about trying something new if people are going to take off if I’m not providing what they were hoping I would when they started following. If it’s writing that you’re interested, I promise more of those posts soon! I’m beginning to start work on my story again and I may begin to share more of my inspiration/motivation/idea generative processes with you.

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I might do one post per day this month while I work out how I’m going to go forward using this blog. Just keep in mind, I’m trying to make this blog a more personal space so there may be some random stuff (but story or arts-based stuff) every now and then. I still want to make sure there are some goodies for you, so feel free to request post topics if you’re interested in something in particular.

(If I do start doing a post per day, I promise they will stop being all over the place! I just have so much to say right now I guess, and I only realize it once I get started!)

Thank you for reading!
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New Year’s Resolutions | 2017

Happy New Year! I’ve decided to officially end my hiatus on January 1, 2016. I apologize for being away longer than I originally anticipated, but I had a rough end of the semester and year. I really needed time to myself to recover and decide what I want to do with the blog (and to a greater extent, my life).

I’m still figuring it out but one thing I know is I don’t want to feel constrained this year to doing the same old posts that every book blogger is doing, just because everyone is doing it. I really want to pave my own way this year, experiment, and feel like I’m being true to myself.

I failed miserably at last year’s resolutions, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to set any for this year!

➴ Reading Resolution

I do not feel like I enjoyed reading as much in 2016 as I did in 2015, and I think that is partially to do with my goal to read 60 books that year. I “only” managed 53, which I’ve been needing to remind myself is still a great accomplishment. But this year I only want to commit myself to read at least three books per month, or 36 for the entire year. This way I can prioritize reading books that I’m excited to read and spending quality time with them.

➴ Writing Resolution

As was my goal last year, I want to finish writing my book this year. I’m hoping that this goal will be achieved pretty early. I want to finish the first draft within the next few months and then be working on revisions and whatnot the rest of the year. I also want to finish a new novel project in November and finally end my NaNoWriMo losing streak. As with my reading goal, I don’t want to set crazy goals that just stress me out all year so I’m going to end on that. But I may elaborate more on my more discrete writing goals each month.

➴ Creative Resolution

This is kind of a weird resolution to set, but I used to be really into art and drawing and I want to start getting back into it. Over Thanksgiving Break, I splurged on a pretty good Wacom drawing tablet which comes with an editing software. The plan is to get back into drawing and see what possibilities exist. I’d really like to try and make bookish-themed blog art and perhaps start taking commissions. I’d also like to experiment with short animation videos of short story ideas.

I don’t want to set too ambitious of goals, but if I can, I’d like to set my mind to one larger project per month and debut it at the end of each month on the blog or on my YouTube channel with some behind-the-scenes tidbits.

End Note

So these are my resolutions. Last year I set some blogging resolutions, but I really don’t feel like I can commit to a schedule right now because there’s nothing that tears me up inside like scheduling posts, forgetting to finish them, and discovering they’ve gone up ahead of completion. If anything, my goal for 2017 is to never. let. that. happen. again. I do hope to get at least one post up each week and let you know ahead of time if I need on any more hiatuses.

In the comments, let me know if you have any similar new year’s resolutions or links to blog is you also have a post dedicated to them. I hope you had a safe and rejuvenating holiday season and are as ready as I am to kick off the new year with a bang.

Thank you for reading!
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Three Week Hiatus!

Hi! I hadn’t thought I’d need to do this, but it’s become the only option if I hope to end this semester on a high note. I decided to go on a short hiatus for the last three weeks of my school semester. I have two major research papers I need to write, the first due next Monday and I’m struggling to find a good balance for all the reading I need to do in order to write these papers (luckily I have all of the works I want to cite, so long as my arguments don’t change).

I also want to be able to dedicate the extra free time that won’t be spent on social media or blogging to recreational reading and writing. I’m almost certainly going to fail NaNoWriMo, but I do want to pretend like it’s still NaNoWriMo in December. Let’s call it DecNoWriMo! I’m still excited to write my story and know it’s possible to finish it by the end of the year, I just need the extra time and mental effort that blog post writing takes up.

I’m hoping go return to Books and Pixels with a bang and wish you all the best of luck on whatever it is you’re working on: whether it be writing and/or school work! I’ll most likely be checking Twitter daily and also browsing Instagram so be sure to follow me there!

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

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Week In Review | Papers, Killing Adonis, & Avenue Q

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I’m back again this week with another Week In Review, a feature in which I talk about my week, what I read, what posts went up, and what posts you can expect in the upcoming week. And at the end I also share something cool online that I’ve really liked this week in the spotlight section.

This last week was pretty busy as it was the last week of class before Thanksgiving Break. I finally had my German lit. presentation on Monday. Wednesday I turned in eight more article summaries which I will include in my lit. review for final my research proposal. And Thursday I got some feedback on my final research paper I’m writing in film studies so I feel like I’m in a really good place with all the papers I’ll need to write in the next couple of weeks.

Even though I was busy, I managed to reward myself with something really fun this week. Thursday night after I was through with all my classes I went to a free showing of Avenue Q on campus! The theater is right next to the building where I have my film studies class so I managed to see the advertisement flyers and realized I should really take advantage of the opportunity. I’ve never seen the show before and I felt like this is great time in my life to watch it.

What I Read

Killing Adonis by J.M. Donellan | I started reading this eBook on my iPhone the previous weekend while I was house-sitting. I figured it would be a relatively quick read as long as I kept up with it. I had very little knowledge of what the story would be about going into it and it was one of those pleasant surprises that knock you off your feet. I really enjoyed the time reading it and dreaded reaching the end. If you’re in the mood for something random, perhaps a book to end a reading slump, I highly recommend this little mystery. It’s set in the modern day, but it also feels like a Victorian novel which I think is really cool.

CURRENTLY READING

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen | I am currently one chapter into this book that I’ve decided to reread as I finish NaNoWriMo because this is absolutely the kind of book I’d like to write. Even though I know what’s going to happen I’m able to enjoy the story and the characters and really can’t wait to get to The Invasion of the Tearling, because I’ve only read that one in digital ARC format so there may be some surprises there. Also the third and final book comes out at the end of the month so I’m eager to pick it up as soon as possible in December.

Research Articles

This week the majority of the articles I read were concerning identification of audiences with media characters. I’m interested in this concept because of how it relates to the theory of uses and gratifications which might explain what audiences stand to gain by increasing their exposure to their favorite media personalities.

Last Week’s Posts

Illuminae | Book Talk | Monday uploaded a quick post on my thoughts about Illuminae. I loved this book and I loved writing this post so it’s promising for the future of book talks I think! Hopefully it helps spread the word about this book because I think it’s a great entry book into science fiction.

Week Two Update | NaNoWriMo 2016 | Thursday I uploaded my progress update post about how spectacularly I’m failing at NaNoWriMo at the moment. It’s never fun to admit, but I do think there’s something to learn from failure so I’m happy to share my failure if it means someone will learn from my mistakes!

Thanksgiving Week Goals + TBR | Saturday morning I sat down and thought about all the things I want to make sure to do this upcoming week and I made it into a post. It includes an ambitious list of writing, homework, and reading goals, including my TBR for the week which I’ve just realized is missing a book that will arrive in the post tomorrow…

Upcoming Posts

5 Standalone Novels | Lori Recommends | Since the holiday season is approaching I’m interested in trying a new style of post in which I recommend five books similar in some way (this time in that they are standalone novels) that might make good gifts to loved ones or to yourself if you’re interested in learning about some new books. All these books are pretty cosy reads and perfect for this time of year.

Week Three Update | NaNoWriMo 2016 | Wednesday I want to upload my next NaNoWriMo progress update. If you recall from this past week’s, I’ve been in a bit of rut. So I’m hoping this week I’ll become a comeback kid and make a miraculous recovery in word count!

Bookshelf Tour 2016 | I’ve never done a bookshelf tour before so I want to one while I have access to all my shelves this week! I think this will be a really fun post which will allow to me to show off the books I own, and also incentivize me to do some cleaning/organizing this week. So I hope you’re excited because I know I am! I’ve only seen videos of these, so it’ll be interesting to figure out how to do this as a blog post.

Spotlight

On Wednesday I made a semi-impulsive Amazon purchase including Illuminae (which I read last week and loved enough to purchase), Gemina (sequel to Illuminae which debuted this year), and a Wacom Intuos art pen and tablet (link here). Why such a random purchase you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I used to love drawing and I want to learn how to make cool art online that I can share. Which leads me to the cool link I want to share this week: Charlie Bowater’s website!

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She is a professional illustrator who makes beautiful fan art for Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I love the idea of trying to bring the world and characters of my story to life, which is a big reason why I wanted to buy the tablet. But I can see myself using it for many other things in the future as well. So I’m hoping it becomes a good investment.

Thank you for reading!
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Thanksgiving Week Goals + TBR

I had planned to write this post before I left for Houston, but it turned out to be a busier week than I thought it would be. So now I’m writing it on a Saturday morning at the breakfast table with a mug of chai latte dispensed from a K-cup. A cold front came in last night and it’s mild, but it’s very welcome because it’s definitely starting to feel like the holiday season now.

Since I’ll be here for about nine days I wanted to make a list of all the things I hope to get done this break, so that I’m productive. And since I’m blogger I’m posting this list here on my blog! (I have other less important goals not listed on this post, but which you may see me talk about next week!)

➴ Win NaNoWriMo 2016

This is priority numero uno. I am at 14,554 words and today’s graph shows that I should be at 31,667 words. So I have a lot of catching up to do in addition to getting ahead on where I want to be with my story. Since I do not want to be a hermit this week, I’m just going to have to allocate bursts of time where I can sit down and write. But since I’m losing motivation, I’m also prioritizing reading that inspires ideas for my own writing.

➴ Write research proposal outline

This assignment is due Wednesday, November 13, meaning it is inflexible; I have to do this. But it should set me up to do the final proposal well so I want to spend time carefully preparing the outline. The hardest thing about it will be organizing my literature review because I have to summarize and explain how upwards of 15 articles have contributed to the formulation of the research study I am to propose.

➴ Write film studies research paper

Of the three papers I will need to turn in during December, this is the only paper I figure I should be able to write a full draft of while on vacation because I will have all the works I will want to cite, one book and the rest digital, with me.  This is also the paper I’m most nervous about because of the instructor who will be grading it, who is one tough cookie.

➴ Rewrite first two film studies papers

This I have decided to do very reluctantly. I completely blew off the first two papers I wrote for film studies and it showed in their grades. Since she gave me feedback on how to revise them I figure I may be able to do this relatively quickly and without too much pain. It’s just a matter of committing.

➴ Read, Read, READ!

There are so many books I would like to read over Thanksgiving Break but I know I will only have time for a few. So I’ve had to be very pragmatic about what I need to read, which primarily consists of library books which I will not be able to have over winter break. But there are some other books which I have started and want to finish to wipe my slate clean for new books.

  1. Killing Adonis by J.M. Donellan. I started reading this eBook on my iPhone last weekend and was able to read a bit more yesterday while I waited for my brother to get ready. I still don’t know what’s going to happen or what kind of story it’ll turn out to be, but it’s still holding my interest so I’ll probably marathon it soon and tick one more book off my TBR.
  2. Stars by Richard Dyer. This book I will be using in my research paper that I speak about above. It is short enough that I should be able to finish it in its entirety, which is why I want to read it and be able to count it towards my Goodreads TBR.
  3. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. After the high I felt after returning to and finishing Illuminae, I want to return to the other book I did not finish this spring which I was really liking but just didn’t feel the urge to continue at the time.
  4. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I’ve already begun rereading this book earlier this week because I was facing a little writing crisis and needed inspiration. So I hope to finish it soon so I can also read its sequel The Invasion of the Tearling this week, as I do not want to bring them back to Dallas with me because I will only be there two more weeks after the next.
  5. Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann. Almost forgot this one! I need to try and finish it before my last German lit. class after the break. Hoping it’s not too much of a bore once I get further into it. I could probably get away with not finishing it, but I’ve already started it and it bothers me to quit things I start.

Thank you for reading!
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Week In Review | House-Sitting, Illuminae, & Research

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A million years ago on a book blog called Books o’ the Wisp, I used to do a weekly feature called Week in Review in which I talked about the posts that went up the previous week, upcoming posts, and anything else I thought cool or exciting. I’ve decided to try and bring it back in the hopes it will motivate me to do more each week and plan ahead!

This was pretty eventful week…to say the least. Monday right before I needed to leave for class the sky started to fall and I, my book bag, and my notebooks were drenched.moby

I believe it foreshadowed the rest of the week for on Tuesday night it became clear that Donald Trump would become the U.S. President-elect because of our founding fathers who thought that the electoral college would protect the people from themselves (contrary to popular belief, we do not get to vote directly for who will become president). And on Thursday I got in a car wreck (don’t worry, no one got hurt; just my car and my ego).

But the strangest thing that has affected my life personally is that I house-sat for my instructor who conveniently left the country right after the election (for a pre-scheduled conference, hehe). But the job was more to dog-sit than house-sit. Here’s a picture of my young charge this weekend, Moby!

What I Read

Man Outside by Wolfgang Borchert | Technically I read this last weekend, but since it’s not a book I’m unable to claim it toward my Goodreads Challenge so I want to talk about it somewhere! It is a short play written by a young WWII veteran who died shortly after it debuted on the stage in 1946. He posthumously became a member of Group 47 which was comprised of the writers who came out of Germany post-WWII. The play is about the plight of the German solider who returned to Germany to nothing but closed doors.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | This tome I started at the beginning of the year and set aside because I just wasn’t in the mood for it. I can’t really explain why I wanted to pick it up this week beyond the fact that I just wanted to read something for fun after the stress and mental/emotional exhaustion of the week. I marathoned it on Friday and immediately wished I could read Gemina. I’m probably going to buy it, and this book, so that I can enjoy them over the holiday.

CURRENTLY READING

Killing Adonis by J.M. Donellan | I was still in the desperate mood to read this weekend after Gemina so I contented myself with a book I bought via the Kindle app last year. I don’t remember exactly what it was that attracted me to buying this book, but I’m in it now and think it should be a relatively swift read as I find it so much easier to binge-read from my iPhone. Not sure I’m going to get anything out of this read, but it has my interest right now at least.

Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann | This is the book I should have been reading this weekend, but I’ve not been impressed with the first 33 pages I’ve read so I’ve been reluctant to pick it up. Especially as the instructor didn’t tell us we had to finish it by Monday, just to “get as far as we can.” Therefore, since my presentation is due Monday night, that might take priority over the actual book.

Research Articles

After quite a few weeks of not keeping up with the articles related to my individual research, I started back up again with a class deadline to have 10 article summaries completed by this Wednesday. I don’t see a value to talking about every single article, but I will say they’ve been about parasocial interaction which can be described as a relationship on the part of the viewer of friendship or intimacy with a remote media persona. Past research has been in relation to newscasters and soap opera characters; I’m interested how it can be translated to YouTubers.

Last Week’s Posts

Introducing Books and Pixels! | It’s weird, but I almost forgot that I renamed my blog just this past Tuesday! I’m really happy with my choice and this post really well lines out what I want to do going forward.

Thoughts on #Election2016 | Wednesday I think I and much of the country was in a bit of shock over the election results so I found it hard to think about much else other than processing everything that was swirling around in my head regarding the state of our country right now. So I wrote that post organizing my thoughts. I can already look back on it in amazement and know it’s going to be something I want to look back on in years to come.

Week One Update | NaNoWriMo 2016 | Also on Wednesday, I uploaded the only post I had scheduled for this week on how I’d been doing on my first week of NaNoWriMo 2016. I talk about what I’ve written and what I learned.

Upcoming Posts

Illuminae | Book Talk | Monday I’m going to upload a quick post on my thoughts about Illuminae. On my very first book blog I used to do book reviews all the time and 2016 I’ve struggled with whether I like them and feel they’re worth it or not. I loved this book and how different it is that I do want to make sure to write some loose thoughts on it without putting too much pressure on myself.

Week Two Update | NaNoWriMo 2016 | Wednesday I want to upload my second progress report on NaNoWriMo. I love doing these and I myself can’t wait to see what I write because I’ve not written much since I’ve been house-sitting so I’m hoping I can catch up by Wednesday!

Thanksgiving Goals | Friday I will be hitting the road and I want to leave knowing exactly what I plan to do for the next week. So I’m going to make a list of things I want to do and hopefully I’ll get to them all. There’s little more satisfying than making a to-do list and being able to check things off the list.

Spotlight

This weekend I fell back in love with CutiePieMarzia‘s YouTube channel. She’s been doing daily vlogs while she and her boyfriend Felix (of PewDiePie fame) are in Los Angeles for work things since around Halloween. I wish she daily vlogged all the time because I love her vlogging style and I find her a bit of a creative inspiration. She also has a WordPress-powered blog so check her out.

Thank you for reading!
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Thoughts on #Election2016

Today is a historic day in U.S. and probably the world. I do not really ever feel the need to blog about politics; I don’t really even like to talk about politics in person, yet alone online. But I feel like this is the first election I’ve been eligible to vote in (and there’s only been two) where I actually feel like a part of the minority, even though the country is apparently about 50/50 split between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the popular vote (which arguably is the one that should matter, right?).

Since many of my blog followers are not American, I thought I might share one American’s viewpoint that may not be as heavily represented in the news or even on social media which is by and large heavily polarized conservative or liberal.

I am a woman. On my birth certificate under race/ethnicity, I am categorized Mexican-American. So I am a minority, despite having lived a very privileged life. I’m very light-skinned. My parents were responsible and waited to have children until they’d made sure they could provide for (and afford) me and my brother. I have the privilege of both my parents still being married to one another. I was born with no disabilities and, though I feel cocky saying it, I’ve got a brain. I’m pretty smart. I’ve had almost every advantage possible for a hispanic girl who was not born into money or with connections. And I feel like the country I have lived in for all my 23 years has allowed me to be where I am now and strive to go even further.

One more thing about me personally, I identify as an Independent.

I’ve voted Democratic in each election I’ve been eligible, but I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life. I know what it is like to live in a place that is dominated by an invisible majority. And I say invisible because I do not see Trump supporters when I walk down the street, go to class, or out to eat. Maybe because I don’t venture into rural areas, but also because I think there are more people that do not fit the stereotype some would have us believe that all Trump supporters are uneducated, poor, white, and male. I think the exit polls have proven that it’s not the case. I think Trump supporters are also a silent majority who have not publicized their support for him either because they are ashamed (and secretly prejudiced) or just afraid of liberal backlash.

One thing I’ve learned this year is that liberalism is associated with elitism. I don’t have the most complete understanding of why this is or the literature to back up my claims, but it might be because intellectuals are more likely to be liberal (Democrats) and intellectuals are people who have the had the privilege of more education than the average joe who maybe couldn’t afford college or couldn’t see the long-term value of investing time and money into it.

Elites are not the majority. And I think similar to Brexit earlier this year, we are seeing that the people who constitute this majority, who are motivated by fear, and who have the least to lose by throwing our country into chaos have risen en mass to make their voices heard.

While I’m sad that Trump will be our next president (unless a miracle happens) and even angry because like others I can’t help but feel personally victimized by Trump’s very existence (and his victory’s affirmation of bullies), I’ve been coping for the past 12 or so hours by reminding myself that no matter what happens we have to live with each other. We just have to. Even if Hillary Clinton had won, we could not just forget how many people Trump energized and made feel like they’ve finally been heard. It’s a truly sad country we’re living in that we’ve been able to ignore these problems for so long.

For us liberal, educated people, I think that the main thing we need to do is put aside our pride and ego and be gracious. This election is not the end of the world. I think the DNC knows it fucked up by thinking that Democrats wanted Hillary when it was Bernie Sanders who was energizing and exciting people the way Trump managed to do with the Republicans this year and Obama four and eight years ago for the Democrats. This is what I’m personally most angry about and almost feel a tinge of satisfaction about Trump’s victory, because I voted reluctantly for Hillary only because I knew she was our best chance for defeating the orange buffoon (sorry, tried to stay neutral but I can’t).

In spite of the outcome, I’m just happy this horrible election is finally over. I’m worried for the country and the calls to action that I may feel compelled to answer. But I’m also selfishly worried about my own future and whether I’ll be able to afford to spend more time and money on my PhD. And I’m worried what the world is going to look like when I’m truly out on my own.

This concludes my obligatory blog post on how I feel about the election. Thank you if you have read the whole thing. If you’re still feeling really sick or upset about the outcome, remember you are not alone and that all is not lost. The election is one battle. Real change happens at the grass roots level.

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

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